Our president's July 4th weekend will be 110% pure Americana, it's most likely, but come Monday the 6th, President Obama is scheduled for three days in Russia. Several delicate topics are on the table and in preparation for the visit, Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has been in Moscow conferring with his Russian counterpart, General Nikolai Makarov, Chief of Staff.
Top concerns are the missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic and S.T.A.R.T, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Other topics include improving military relations and global security issues.
In the video above, you can catch John Beyrle, US Ambassador to Russia, in several clips. Now there's an interesting fellow. History buffs will be interested to know about Ambassador Beyrle's unique connection with Russia.
His late father, Jumpin' Joe Beyrle, is the only World War II veteran to have served in both the U.S. and Russian armies. Joe was a paratroooper and captured by the Nazis shortly after D-Day. He escaped a German war camp after several attempts and that figured his chances of survival would better if he were to head east toward the advancing Russian army. A fascinating story - here's my post about it, written last summer, shortly after son John Beyrle was appointed US Ambassador to Russia. This will be the ambassador's first time to host a US president in Russia, if I'm not mistaken.
Another recent guest is Representative Howard Berman, in Moscow to lay groundwork for the president's visit. Mr Berman is chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
For insight into current relations between Russia and the United States, may I recommend Windows to Russia, a fine blog written by an Kyle and Sveta Keeton - a ex-pat married to a national.